I recently took a trip to Burlington, Vermont and had the opportunity to frequent some of the city’s many renowned breweries (this was actually our annual “Bro’d Trip!”). Here are some breweries to definitely check out if you find yourself visiting this picturesque college town on Lake Champlain!
Of all the breweries we visited in Burlington, Switchback seemed to have the most adventurous and wide ranging selection of beers, including several brewed with smoked malts, which had a very interesting and complex flavor. They also serve the what I would call the standard drinkin’ beer in the area – their Switchback Ale. A “drinkin’ beer” is what I call the local brew that every bar in town has on tap; the one that you order (and enjoy) when you don’t want to spend too much time looking at a menu, or if you want to have more than one or two. When I think drinkin’ beer I think Yazoo Dos Perros in Nashville, Genny in Rochester (hey, some drinkin’ beers are better than others), and, now, Switchback Ale in Burlington.
Zero Gravity has a great space that reminded me a lot of Fremont Brewing’s location in Seattle, which is still probably my favorite brewery anywhere. They have a great selection of high quality brews, and a great space to hang out in and play games. They also have an outdoor patio for when the weather is nice.
Foam is situated just across the street from a park that is right on Lake Champlain, which makes for some great views if you time your visit just right. The beers are also great, particularly if you fancy a hint of fruit in your brew. Many of the beers on tap here are brewed with mango, pineapple, and other tropical fruits which make them great for a refreshing summer drink. Unfortunately we were there in the dead of winter, but they were still good! They also offer charcuterie and cheese boards, and food trucks are often known to camp just outside. Check ’em out!
Fiddlehead’s main operation is actually situated about 20 minutes outside Burlington, in the town of Shelburne. It is located in a large barn which it shares with Folino’s, a BYOB wood-fired pizza joint that makes some really good ‘za. The order of operations here is: 1) put your name in for a table at Folino’s, 2) fill up a growler with some IPA next door, 3) bring said growler back over to Folino’s, 4) grab a chilled glass from the freezer, and 5) fill up your glass and sip some suds while you wait. Foolproof plan, really.
Perhaps one of the original Vermont breweries, Magic Hat is certainly the most well known on the national beer scene. While admittedly I liked the beer at some of the other breweries better, Magic Hat is certainly worth a visit to see what kind of rotating small batch or lesser known brews they are offering at the time. They have a fun, funky tasting room and a short, self-guided tour of the brewing operation as well.
But that’s not all! How about some bonus Burlington recommendations? Here are some other non-brewery places that I highly recommend:
- Myer’s Bagels – Montreal style bagels and bagel sandwiches
- The original Ben & Jerry’s ice cream – pretty basic, and there’s going to be a line, but it did not disappoint.
- American Flatbread – excellent pizza and beer selection from the Zero Gravity satellite brewery on location
- Farmhouse Tap and Grill – great for brunch!
I know that there are plenty more breweries in Burlington that we did not have time to visit. Have you been to a good one? Let me know in the comments!